Supreme Court Okays Departures in Drug Cases
The Supreme Court today affirmed rulings of two district court judges in cases in which they had granted downward departures from the federal sentencing guidelines. One case involved crack, the other ecstasy.
In Kimbrough, the Court had imposed a 15 year sentence instead of the 19 to 22 years called for by the guidelines. In Gall, the Court granted probation instead of a 30 to 37 month sentence.
Tomorrow, the U.S. Sentencing Commission will announce its decision on whether its recent crack cocaine guideline reduction will be retroactive and thus apply to the 19,500 crack offenders now in federal prison.Update: Two quotes from Kimbraugh on the difference between mandatory minimums and guidelines and ability of judges to consider the disparity between crack and powder cocaine penalties:
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